Travel by train from the Thailand / Malaysia border station of Padang Besar by KTM Komuter (commuter) is a very cheap way to get from the border to all railway stations in the states of Perlis, Kedah and Penang.
Connecting Komuter trains can also take you into Perak state as far as Padang Rengas (you have to change trains at Bukit Mertajam).
Komuter Utara trains (northern commuter trains) in Malaysia have seats available on the sides of the carriages, with open spaces all along the middle for standing passengers (like a subway / tube train).
Most of the time you should be able to get a seat, but at busy times of the day and some holiday periods, you may have to stand for part or all of the journey.
There are no toilets on board, so if you are on a long trip, use the station toilets before you get on if you think you may need to.
Commuter Timetable for 2017 to 2018 (All Trains operate daily):
Morning / Afternoon Timetable
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Afternoon / Evening Timetable
For the connecting commuter services from Bukit Mertajam to Perak state:
Commuter trains in Malaysia are easily the cheapest way to travel compared to the fast ETS trains or the bus.
A ticket from Padang Besar to Butterworth, Penang by KTM Komuter costs only RM 11.40.
As there is no seat reservation available on these commuter trains, tickets are only available on the day on travel.
You buy your tickets from the station ticket counter, so if you are travelling from Thailand, make sure you have some Malaysian money with you before arriving, as there is currently no currency exchange booth at the Padang Besar Railway Station.